Farming news

Cermaq Norway uses laser against salmon lice

After extensive evaluation, lasers will be put into use at suitable facilities in Nordland and Finnmark.

Lice lasers have been shown to keep lice levels down, not distubring the salmon. Credits: Cermaq
October 4, 2023

Laser has proven to be effective against salmon lice and gentle on the salmon. After extensive evaluation at Cermaq in Finnmark and at Ballangen in Nordland, lasers will be put into use at suitable facilities in Nordland and Finnmark. The fish lasers are now used by many salmon farmers and currently monitor and protect more than 50 million salmon and trout around the clock.

“Lice lasers have been shown to keep lice levels down. We can then avoid many mechanical delousing measures and thus we avoid stressing the fish leaving them swimming in peace and quiet. Cermaq's goal is to control the level of lice to the greatest extent possible with preventive technology and laser is one of several measures that we now want to increase the use of to ensure the best possible fish welfare,” said Karl Fredrik Ottem, head of fish health in Cermaq Norway.

It is the sea sites Veggfjell and Svartfjell that will install lasers over the next few weeks, and lasers will be installed at several sea sites in the months to come. In total, around 140 lasers will be installed. Cermaq will continue to evaluate the effect of the lasers. There will be a separate team of laser operators who will ensure optimal placement and operation of the lasers, and the team will be associated with Cermaq's growth center in Nordfold. An important part of this task will be to further develop our procedures so that we achieve best practice and the best possible result from using lasers.

“The laser nodes also come with advanced monitoring of the level of lice and fish welfare, so that the sea sites will get a good insight into the development of lice and the health of the fish. Thus, we believe the use of lice lasers is the right step in terms of ensuring both fish welfare and the most sustainable production possible,” said Karl Fredrik Ottem.

Salmon lice are a challenge for the entire industry, and it is important to have multiple tools in the toolbox to control sea lice. Cermaq is concerned with identifying and adopting the right preventive lice technology for each individual location so that we achieve the best possible biological control where we farm. In addition to lasers, Cermaq today uses measures such as submersible cages, tube nuts, deep lice skirts and deep feeding as preventive measures against lice.

The light lasers are produced by Stingray Marine Solutions.